Thursday, December 30, 2004

How to help the victims of the Tsunami

Go here.

Incidentally, can somebody tell me when the term Tidal Wave became incorrect and was replaced with Tsunami? And, for that matter and related to none of this, when did the Western world start calling Peking Beijing and why? If it was always wrong, why did we call it Peking to being with?

Really. I'm just curious.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The world officially employed "Tsunami" after the Irwin Allen fiasco of "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure." God bless Shelley Winters!

Anonymous said...

Beijing was dubbed Peking simply by the accident of a French missionary named Dave Wollenbaugh who had an embarrassing speech impediment and a tendency to laugh at his own jokes. Were he alive today, Dave (also known as "Mad Dog") would quote old episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 verbatim and prompt thoughtful discussions on exactly when "Family Guy" lost its comedic mojo. Or, in missionary terms, "Jumped the Shark". Like Dave, doesn't that term seem oh so 400 years ago?

P.S. Quack!

Miles said...

yippee comments...well, actually, not the comments that i was expecting, but funny nonetheless. now,really, why the name changes? huh? dave? quack?

Gary Zalkin said...

I think a tidal wave is more related to tides and is a large wave from inception while a tsunami is caused by a pulse from something else (I don't think tides can cause a large enough pulse - I understand earthquakes, meteors and volcanoes can cause it).

Gary Zalkin said...

Whoops - that didn't just go to you.

Miles said...

way to master modern technology, gary! ;-)

yes, I understand the difference, but for the longest time, we just called them tidal waves. when did we all of a sudden change the name? huh? happy new year, btw.

Gary Zalkin said...

I think it was a late 90's thing. The tsunami-lobby started getting better organized.

Anonymous said...

Re: Peking/Beijing -- Peking was the western colonial name for Beijing.

See below for more info:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/11/world/main648623.shtml

Calcutta was always pronounced Kolkata (pronounced COAL-ka-tah) in the Bengali language. But with the new name the English pronunciation and spelling switched to Kolkata, too.

Yet another city resident, consumer rights activist Mita Dutta, says she uses Calcutta in most conversations. "To say Kolkata is a conscious effort."

India is not alone in switching colonial names. South Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are among many countries that renamed provinces and cities. Sri Lanka, the island nation off India's southern tip, changed its own name, dropping the colonial name Ceylon in 1972.

Some countries merely corrected spellings based on Britons' faulty pronunciation of foreign languages. Bangladesh changed the spelling of its capital to Dhaka, instead of the British Dacca, in 1982.

Similarly in China, the government changed from Peking to Beijing in the 1950s to bring the spelling closer to the Chinese pronunciation and later turned Canton into Guangzhou - both changes adopted by the rest of the world.

The military regime in Myanmar has had less success getting acceptance for the ancient name for the country best known as Burma. The United States still uses Burma, and it's Burma/Myanmar for the European Union. Myanmar is derived from the Burmese name Myanma Naingngandaw.

(Is this really what this blog is about???)

Miles said...

wow, thanks to anonymous and, for gary, well, that lobby seems, unfortunately, very well organized right now.

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